General chatter - New report says on avg. 30% of adults are obese.. Thoughts?




shellofself
07-07-2011, 02:52 PM
Think your state should have landed higher (or lower) on the list?

Hate to say it but I'm surprised Texas, which ranked 12th, isn't higher.

While it serves as a reminder that I'm not alone in the constant uphill battle of obesity, it's also really sad that this is the state of our country...

Links to AP article, "Percentage of obese adults in all 50 states": http://bit.ly/qAtUP2 (http://bit.ly/qAtUP2)


astrophe
07-07-2011, 03:04 PM
I'm not surprised. We're overfed and undernutritioned as a nation.

A.

Lovely
07-07-2011, 03:04 PM
Not surprised. New England, as usual, lands low on that list. Not sure why.


IsabellaOlivia
07-07-2011, 03:05 PM
From a social perspective, it's interesting that almost all of the top ten most obese states are southern states. Why do you guys think that is?

I think it's partly because typical southern food is greasy, breaded and loaded with calories. Also, healty affordable food is less available in the southern states due too often big distance for those who live rural.

IsabellaOlivia
07-07-2011, 03:10 PM
Not surprised. New England, as usual, lands low on that list. Not sure why.

It's statistcally proven that people with higher education are less obese. The rates are 21,5 % obesity for those with a degree beyond high school while for those did not graduate high school the rate is 33%

I live in England, so I'm not sure if I'm right about the following: Isn't New England one of states with the largest % of educated people?

zoodoo613
07-07-2011, 03:23 PM
I think the problem in the south is all the fried food, and all the sweet tea. All that southern hospitality is fattening! (I grew up in NY, but lived in NC for 10 years.)

ValRock
07-07-2011, 03:34 PM
I'm actually surprised the percentage is not higher! After living in Japan, coming back to the states was a bit shocking.

Lovely
07-07-2011, 03:35 PM
It's statistcally proven that people with higher education are less obese. The rates are 21,5 % obesity for those with a degree beyond high school while for those did not graduate high school the rate is 33%

I live in England, so I'm not sure if I'm right about the following: Isn't New England one of states with the largest % of educated people?

New England is the name for the group of six states in the upper Northeastern corner of the US. Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine.

I honestly wouldn't know whether or not New England boasts a higher education level than the rest of the States. I've never more than glanced at the charts with the rankings with that information.

theCandEs
07-07-2011, 04:33 PM
Well, I live in Alabama, and I can tell you southern cooking is dangerous. I am not originally from the South, but my DH is. His mother's idea of a good meal is cornbread, ham, butter beans, corn on the cob, and mashed potatoes. That's right, starch, starch, and more starch. Then, she justifies it to me by saying that they are all vegetables. Uh, yeah! Starchy vegetables! Oh, and let's have some peach cobbler for dessert, with ice cream on top! Not to mention the gallons of sweet tea they drink.

Whew! Sorry about that! I just needed to vent, I guess.

berryblondeboys
07-07-2011, 05:24 PM
Education level is a HUGE factor (and yes, the northeast has more people with higher education).

And what is it about higher education? Well, first, they know better how to eat better. Second, they can afford to eat better with higher incomes and they have more time typically to devote to going to the gym, taking a walk, riding a bike etc.

People who are poorer work longer hours and have less free time.

And I really don't think it's about the food in the US that is the problem. I've traveled around and everywhere there is cheese and fried foods and fattening desserts. What makes us unique (and unfortunately, less and less unique) is that we are a driving nation. We drive EVERYWHERE. We don't walk. We don't take stairs, etc. In most of the rest of the world, people walk to work or walk to a tram and then from the tram to their office and then take the stairs to the office. People walk to the food market and carry their food home (doing so EVERY day). They walk in the evening with friends, etc.

In the US we drive three blocks to take the kids to school.

midwife
07-07-2011, 05:30 PM
That article talks about "obese". According to the CDC, another 34% fall into "overweight and not obese."

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/overwt.htm

34% of adults over 20 are obese
Another 34% overweight but not obese.
68% are overweight or obese (2008 data)

We have a big problem. (no pun intended)

fitmom
07-07-2011, 05:31 PM
How about the fact that childhood obesity is also on the rise? The percentage doesn't shock me. Everywhere I go people seem to be eating fast food by the bagful. That kind of thinking has got to catch up with you eventually. What's the saying in the fitness industry? "Garbage in, garbage out." It's sad, really.

fitness4life
07-07-2011, 05:33 PM
My 1st thought was, "that's all?". Midwife, you added that more fall into overweight.
Read it - ANOTHER 34% are overweight. That means 64% of our coutry is overweight.

I think that's all I need to say. :(

fitmom
07-07-2011, 05:35 PM
But are we talking about obese individuals who had their BMI done? Because my husband's body fat percentage is within the normal range, if you plug his height and weight into a BMI calculator, he's considered "obese" because he has a lot of muscle. I wonder what parameters they use. According to my doctor, everyone should be going by how much body fat and lean muscle mass they have because that's a better indicator. Regardless, it's still a sad situation.

berryblondeboys
07-07-2011, 05:37 PM
How about the fact that childhood obesity is also on the rise? The percentage doesn't shock me. Everywhere I go people seem to be eating fast food by the bagful. That kind of thinking has got to catch up with you eventually. What's the saying in the fitness industry? "Garbage in, garbage out." It's sad, really.

And I will state again - it's because our kids are too inactive. When we were kids we were walking to school, playing outside until we were called in and were always on the move. Kids today sit in front of the TV and in front of the computer and if they have activities, they are driven to them, jump for an hour and then get driven home and sit some more. It's all about movement!

MariaMaria
07-07-2011, 05:39 PM
Obesity on this scale (populations rather than individuals) is measured by BMI.

The number of people who are so muscular that their body fat percentage is minimal when their BMI is high is vanishingly small, NPI.

fitmom
07-07-2011, 05:48 PM
And I will state again - it's because our kids are too inactive. When we were kids we were walking to school, playing outside until we were called in and were always on the move. Kids today sit in front of the TV and in front of the computer and if they have activities, they are driven to them, jump for an hour and then get driven home and sit some more. It's all about movement!




That's very true. I grew up in an era where there was practically no video games or internet. My boys go outside everyday for a least an hour and ride bikes or play baseball or basketball. And I monitor the amount of tv and gaming they do too. You've got to move your body!

berryblondeboys
07-07-2011, 05:50 PM
Of course, we also eat huge amounts. It's not so much WHAT we are eating, but how much of it we are eating. We have forgotten what a 'portion' is. You realize it when you go overseas or elsewhere and see how small a dinner most people eat in other 'rich' countries.

zoodoo613
07-07-2011, 05:51 PM
I agree that inactivity is a huge problem. But is it the whole problem? Activity is certainly not sufficient to lose the weight once you're already overweight.

I think the food industry itself is a huge part of the problem. We buy crappy convenience food, because there's a lot of marketing out there that tells us we should, and we deserve it. And we do! We're working longer hours than ever, and most families no longer have the luxury of having one parent at home, preparing home cooked foods. So we turn to restaurants, and processed foods and turn our backs on good, real food. We've taken food preparation out of the hands of families and placed it into the hands of companies who's primary goal is to make money.

Lack of activity plays into it too. Adults rush from work to appointments and don't or can't take the time to enjoy the journey. Kids are more often home by themselves and are told to stay inside because it's safer. And what do they do while sitting around? Eat junk.

fitmom
07-07-2011, 05:57 PM
I don't know about anyone else but my wake up call was when I saw my beloved mom pass away from cancer because she took terrible care of herself. I made myself a silent promise that I would do whatever I could to lead a healthy and active life because I saw firsthand what neglecting yourself can do. I also feel better when I eat cleanly, if I eat fast food now - I feel physically sick. I don't even crave sweets anymore. I want to be fit for life and set a good example for my sons.

zoodoo613
07-07-2011, 06:01 PM
Of course, we also eat huge amounts. It's not so much WHAT we are eating, but how much of it we are eating. We have forgotten what a 'portion' is. You realize it when you go overseas or elsewhere and see how small a dinner most people eat in other 'rich' countries.

I agree that we do eat way to much. And you can get fat eating healthy foods. But I don't think that's what most of the country is doing. We're getting fat eating unhealthy food. Look at all of it out there! Processed, empty calories abound at the grocery store. And they're comparatively cheap.

I don't think it's a coincidence that obesity rates began to climb at the same time women began entering the work force in such big numbers. Good food and nutrition is work. And like much of the work historically done by woman, it wasn't recognized or valued. Now we're facing the consequences of undervaluing that role.

And please, please don't take this to mean I think woman should stay home and be in the kitchen feeding their families. I work outside the home, and am in fact the primary earner in my household. I don't think I'd want it any other way. I'm just making the point that the shift in the roles corresponds to a shift in the food industry and a shift in the nation's obesity rates.

berryblondeboys
07-07-2011, 07:16 PM
Zoodoo - I don't disagree with you - there are so many factors - SO many. When I go to the grocery store, I'm always amazed at how many processed foods I see in people's carts. WHne I go to teh farmer's market, I'll see people pick up a quart or two of berries or maybe some corn and watermelon. I go wtih a rolling cart and buy $80 worth of produce for ONE WEEK.

I think that's one of the reasons why this weight loss journey has been easier for me (this time especially). I home prepare nearly everything - our breads, all our veggies, even our pizza and ice cream. We eat tons and tons and tons of fresh veggies and fruit. My fridge is FULL every week with just fresh foods. I have one tiny bin on the door for things like mustard, sauces, etc.

We NEVER go out to eat. Last time was in um.... March I think? When I met up with a college friend who was in teh DC area. Other than that the last time before that in January for a dinner with friends from out of town. We go out to eat maybe 4 times a year.

We also spend a FORTUNE on food. I buy only organic dairy and eggs and meats. (produce and veggies I buy conventional). ANd with buying fresh, it's pricey. I spend over $200 a week for a family of 5 consisting of 3 adults, a teen and a 6 year old. And we throw away NOTHING (and all meals come from the house - breakfast through dinner). Now, we also live in the VERY pricey DC area, and that does add up fast.

Ironically, the only processed foods eaten now are by me! I buy protein bars!

fitmom
07-07-2011, 08:01 PM
I'm actually going to Disney soon and I'm terrified about what my husband and I are going to eat. I refuse to revert back to our old ways, lol. I will admit it is easier if you stay at home and cook your meals. But as a full-time mom, my husband realizes that going out to eat on the weekends sometimes is a treat for me so we eat out. We've had to get very creative like: splitting an entree, asking for sauces on the side, ordering only lean proteins such as: chicken breast and turkey, having steamed vegetables and grilled things. Some of the restaurants have bent over backwards but some roll their eyes almost when we ask for things to be prepared a certain way. I don't care because eating well is a priority for us and our kids. But make no mistake, it's easier to take the easy way out and pull into McDonald's on a busy weeknight, lol.

ButterCup85
07-07-2011, 08:20 PM
About the walking, at least in Texas, we have so much land and you really do anything but drive to work. Well, you can. But, say you work 40 minutes drive time. Getting to work at 8am in the morning it's probably at least 85 degrees. And just gets hotter through out the day. A walk would be horrid, a bike may be better time wise but you'd prolly be hotter. It's no excuse. We just don't have towns where you can walk a couple miles. Mainly just Austin. Then yes, fried, foods, grease, sweet tea. I was raised as taters, veggie and meat. And many times meat is fried as well as many veggies. And fruits and veggies can be pretty expensive imo, especially when you're driving forever to get to a job, which again many don't have.

Lovely
07-07-2011, 10:27 PM
It does seem to be a combination of more food and lack of activity.

Part of the problem with walking to work or the store is that it sadly isn't feasible for a lot of people in the US. As an example of that, my last job was half an hour by car away from my home in another town over a river and past a highway. That's not something you just choose to walk to every day. My first job, on the other hand, was a 10 minute walk from my house, and I'm happy to say that most days I simply walked up. But, not everyone has that choice.

I sigh to myself every time I see the new restaurant commercial bragging about their huge portions, and their bacon-encrusted-lard-burger topped with more bacon and using cheese fried chicken as a bun. Oh. But at least there's a leaf of lettuce on it, right?!

So since everyday type of activities like walking certain places aren't a -forced- part of our day anymore, and since we're bombarded with both overly-caloric foods AND huge portions... what's a country to do? With those things combined (no we're not captain planet) it seems like it was just a matter of time before we all started gaining weight.

Especially children born in the last 10 years. This is all they've known! How much is education on the matter going to do if it's not put into practice?

theox
07-08-2011, 12:17 AM
From a social perspective, it's interesting that almost all of the top ten most obese states are southern states. Why do you guys think that is?

I think it's partly because typical southern food is greasy, breaded and loaded with calories. Also, healty affordable food is less available in the southern states due too often big distance for those who live rural.

Some thoughts on this:

1. Poverty. As a whole, the South is a relatively poor region in which wealth has traditionally not been very equally distributed. It's not third-world country poor (or anything close to it), but there are a lot of people who simply don't have the means to eat well (and their ancestors didn't, either).

Almost a quarter of the children in my state live below the poverty line. Even if their parents know what they should be feeding the kids (which can be a pretty big "if") and have access to public assistance and charity, they may still find it difficult to make ends meet. Also, not all food aid is healthy. School lunches here are a great example of this. They're not usually very healthy, but they are cheap because the government is not going to pay any more than it has to to feed the children of those who can't feed themselves. And even people who don't live below the poverty line might not always have as much money as they might need to feed their families really well.

That said, I think that another aspect of this problem is that people who are better off than their ancestors have tended to simply add more meat and more fat to their diet (see 2). Greens seasoned with lard and served with cornbread won't kill you, but add in a chicken-fried steak with gravy, sweet tea, and some cobbler and it'll clog your arteries.

The South does not have a uniform food culture, but many of the foodways that have developed were developed by poor people trying to make the most of what they had. Two of the main reasons that fried, breaded, and lard-flavored foods are so popular across much of the region, in addition to being tasty, are because they're cheap and filling. If people don't have a lot of money to spend on food and can't or won't grow their own, a pretty good chunk of those people are going to try to make what food money they do have go as far as they can, and they're going to try to get the biggest caloric bang for their buck. An interesting development in Southern cooking has been the development of New Southern cuisine, which seems to me to be driven by middle-class white people concerned about their health and weight and tweaking old staples to be healthier. I hope it really catches on.

2. Ignorance. Many people don't seem to know what they should be eating. I think this is (or should be) less true than it was, what with improvements in public education in recent decades, more outsiders moving into the region, and the explosion of the Internet. But there are still a lot of people who have no idea what a healthy diet would look like because 1)the South tends to be a bit insulated from the rest of the country/world and they haven't been exposed to diets other than the "traditional" Southern diet or more recently, fast food, and 2)health education usually doesn't get the attention it deserves. 1 is changing as the region becomes more integrated with the rest of the world. 2 is a symptom of a strategy employed since colonial times by a small white elite to preserve their power and wealth by keeping blacks and the majority of whites pitted fighting each other instead of the elites and ignorant of everything but what they needed to know to pick cotton, work a loom, or mine coal. The most important thing that Southern states have in common isn't their current vices or their terrible rankings on indicators of quality of life like health and education. It's a shared history of relatively hierarchical societies headed by small, wealthy elites that depend(ed) on a large and submissive labor force. Poverty, public health issues, and many, many other problems are subsidiary to that one (IMO).

I think things are getting better and more people are becoming aware of what they need to do to act in their self-interest, at least in my state. I think formal health education is probably better than it used to be, and less-formal outreach programs by community groups are helping too. Still, it's going to take more than a few decades to fix the problems created by over 300 years of (mostly) poor governance.

I also think that fewer people have the knowledge needed to grow their own food, and there's little incentive for most people who could to do so because processed stuff at the grocery store is so cheap. I think this loss of knowledge is related to changes in the region's economies. Less agriculture, more manufacturing and service jobs that require long hours and different skill sets, and increased urbanization contribute to this trend. Of course, higher wages and urbanization can also help facilitate the development of healthier societies, so it may all work out in the end.

3. Car culture. The South tends to be very car-centric. There has been little emphasis in most areas on promoting pedestrian- and bike-friendly urban environments, public transportation hasn't really caught on outside of the towns/cities (or inside some towns/cities, for that matter), and much of the region is still so rural that if you don't grow good food or live near someone who does and you don't have a car, you're not likely to get it.

4. Larger socioeconomic trends. Subsidies on certain raw materials and lack of stringent regulation on the sale and labeling of foodstuffs (or food-like stuffs), plus the increasing reach of advertisers and marketers trying to turn a buck for the companies that sell fast food and pre-packaged processed foods have made bad food choices more available and made those choices seem more desirable than ever before.

I touched on some of the negative effects of cars and urbanization above.

Again, I think this really goes back to poverty and ignorance, which the South (as a region) has in spades. People who are uneducated and strapped for cash think they're getting something they're not, and a lot of times they have to work hard to get past that, because society is not structured in their favor.

LiannaKole
07-08-2011, 01:22 AM
About the inactivity thing, I think one problem is that our public transportation is crap. For most people, to take a bus or a train somewhere, you'd have to drive miles just to get there. Also, like where I live, a lot of things are very spread out. My nearest grocery store is over 15 miles away. Going there every day on foot isn't doable. Ditto with work, etc. Nothing is just a couple miles away. Of COURSE there are other ways to stay active, but my point is that a lot of the day-to-day way of walking to necessary places is difficult for a lot of people to do without cars.

Edit: Oops, someone already had this point. Sorry!

I also think ignorance is a much greater factor than most people want to admit. A LOT of people don't know how to eat healthy. Yeah, I hear people go, "Come on - everyone knows to just stop eating crap." Well, I've spent time with people in areas with mediocre and worse schooling, and let me tell you that most of them have very little if any clue that the stuff they're eating is bad for them. A lot of the kids in "decent" schools don't even know where a lot of foods come from. And no one is teaching them. And if they don't know something's wrong, they don't realize they have to fix it. It's very sad and a difficult thing to fix, as it's somewhat tied into national education (which is a mess...).

Also, does anyone know if the rates of obesity/overweight is rising significantly? I'm not sure if someone already said it...

Thighs Be Gone
07-08-2011, 01:49 AM
I am in the South as well. I also find obesity to be more accepted in some of our cultures (yes, there is MORE than one culture in the South) than in others. I can tell you there are *definitely* more women in my area with eating disorders than are overweight. What are deemed as societal norms definitely have a bearing on BMI's. When you are surrounded by very large people in your family and community, being morbidly obese doesn't seem so striking to you. Likewise, when you are surrounded by size 0-2 blondes, it also influences you.

The south also has a HUGE influx of immigrants from South of the border not seen in the North/Northeastern portion of the U.S. Due to lack of education and funds the group (as a whole) seems to struggle with maintaining healthy weights as well.

Thighs Be Gone
07-08-2011, 01:52 AM
Lianna..AGREED about national education.

indiblue
07-08-2011, 05:47 AM
Isabella Olivia, regarding obesity in the south....

I think another MAJOR aspect is culture, specifically how they spend free time. The top states (all Southern) have a VERY different culture than the bottom states (D.C. and Colorado).

I am from.... drum roll please... the state ranked THIRD highest in obesity rates: Tennessee. I have lived in both Colorado and D.C. and the difference in culture is striking.

In the South, time and activities revolve around getting family together to visit or watch SEC football. ALWAYS over food. Huge BBQs and cookouts, family "suppers" on Sunday afternoons, you name it, we have a reason to get together and stuff our faces silly. In my twenty-five years as a Southerner I can count the times we got together with family or neighbors to do something other than eat, visit, and watch Vols football (though it does happen of course- going to a play of a cousin's, visiting a zoo, etc... it's just unusual).

In places like Colorado it's about activities. People plan their weekends around hiking, climbing, camping, skiing. As many conversations as Southerners have about when and where the next family get-together is, Coloradans have about the opening of ski season or the 5.12 climb they just topped.

In D.C. it's about career and productivity. Free time is spent networking or doing "productive" activities- reading the Economist, going to Pilates, attending a networking event, meeting a new friend or contact over coffee. Free time is usually not "wasted" on things like sitting around watching football with family over chicken wings- it revolves around doing something that is going to edify yourself personally or professionally.

So again, it comes down to how people spend non-work hours and what activities and priorities dominate them. I love the culture of the South that revolves around neighbors and family, but I would love it more if it could include a bit more of the activeness of the Colorado mentality with the productivity and self-improvement focus of the D.C. mentality.

I know these are GROSS generalizations, but having lived in all three places I have somewhat of a privilege to draw such sweeping distinctions between them right :)

Anyway, my two cents!

Chubbykins
07-08-2011, 06:46 AM
And I will state again - it's because our kids are too inactive. When we were kids we were walking to school, playing outside until we were called in and were always on the move. Kids today sit in front of the TV and in front of the computer and if they have activities, they are driven to them, jump for an hour and then get driven home and sit some more. It's all about movement!

I respectfully disagree. No matter how much you move when you eat 4000 calories a day with most of it comming from saturated fat not even an olympic athlete can cope.

When we were kids we simply didn't have that much food.

One can not blame video games and tv as a major factor in weight gain when there are way too obvious "vilains" like sugar, saturated fats and high sodium intake to blame. We feed our kids hamburgers from age 3-5 and some even give that stuff to their toddlers. I ate my first burger when I was 11.

If you feed your kid fatty trash how on earth is it supposed to be active? It is like a stone in the stomach.

Zeitgeist
07-08-2011, 08:07 AM
And I will state again - it's because our kids are too inactive. When we were kids we were walking to school, playing outside until we were called in and were always on the move. Kids today sit in front of the TV and in front of the computer and if they have activities, they are driven to them, jump for an hour and then get driven home and sit some more. It's all about movement!


I agree with this. I often see parents who drive their kids to and from the bus. We're talking a distance of 200 feet in some cases. Drives me insane (mostly for the environmental impact). Even the prevalence of technology cuts down on movement, with kids who will text their parent from their bedroom, instead of walking down the stairs to find said parent.

I also think the problem is related to the constant access to food and drink. I teach in a high school, and while my school has adopted a wellness program and tries provide a lot of healthy options (our school lunches are amazing), there are still vending machines stocked with chips, pop-tarts, etc. In the morning, kids will bring in XL flavored coffees, huge Monster (or other energy) drinks, sometimes even 2 liters of soda for breakfast. They eat/drink throughout every class, every day. I know that when I was in high school, while the meals that were provided were much worse in terms of calories and fat, lunch was the only time you could eat or drink. If you wanted a drink during class, you had to find a water fountain.

Add that to every other factor others mentioned, and I am surprised our youth obesity rate isn't higher. However, I don't necessarily think it is because they are uneducated. At least in our school (and from what I know talking with fellow educators), the health curriculum really stresses healthy eating and exercise. But as most of us here know (or why would we be here), knowing what to do and actually doing it, are two different things.

berryblondeboys
07-08-2011, 11:04 AM
I respectfully disagree. No matter how much you move when you eat 4000 calories a day with most of it comming from saturated fat not even an olympic athlete can cope.

When we were kids we simply didn't have that much food.

One can not blame video games and tv as a major factor in weight gain when there are way too obvious "vilains" like sugar, saturated fats and high sodium intake to blame. We feed our kids hamburgers from age 3-5 and some even give that stuff to their toddlers. I ate my first burger when I was 11.

If you feed your kid fatty trash how on earth is it supposed to be active? It is like a stone in the stomach.

We didn't eat bad foods? I disagree. In the 50s and 60s and 70s was the wave of boxed/canned foods. we didn't eat lean meats, we ate meats with the fats left on, skin left on. We fried chicken and pork chops. We slathered butter on everything. We ate hotdogs and hamburgers. "What" we ate, if anything, was higher in fat than what we eat now. NOW we eat way more (as the poster above me said - all day, every hour). But it's not like we ate great quality food in the 70s and even 80s.

Actually, by eating lower fat I think we've made things worse. We eat more carbs now which make you hungrier for more carbs - which might be why we seem to need to eat like nonstop.

I would MUCH rather my kids eat a hamburger than a sugar filled low fat yogurt. That hamburger will keep him filled for hours. The yogurt, 30 minutes tops.

But lack of activity plus MORE food is the big culprit.

JenMusic
07-08-2011, 11:31 AM
I think it's a multitude of factors. As a Southerner, I think indiblue makes some very good points, and I completely agree with theox about car culture. Where I am, it is simple impossible to even survive without a car - a fact that is hard to fathom for those from the northeast part of the country, or from other countries.

To add some more anecdotal data to the mix: I teach English to international students who are in the States for anywhere from 8 weeks to years. They are all adults ranging in age from 18 to middle age, from a variety of countries and cultures. Almost all deal with some sort of weight gain on moving to the US. The women are more vocal about it but it affects the men as well. For some students, I can actually see the weight gain as the school term progresses. Those students who are here long-term generally learn how to adapt their lifestyle (ie, food choices) to lose the excess weight.

When the topics of food/exercise/diet, etc. are discussed in or out of class, almost ALL of my students point out that they get much less built-in, daily physical activity here than in they do in their home countries. Most also note how big restaurant portions are (some love this, by the way) and many are surprised by how common eating in public is here. Before they come here, most of my students would never dream of eating anywhere but at home at a a designated meal time, or at a restaurant. Certainly never eating in class . . . but they quickly adapt. :)

There's some generalizing above, of course, and it's all personal observation, but it's not too far of a reach for me to say that the US has pretty different ways of eating/moving than a lot of the rest of the world.

fitmom
07-08-2011, 11:40 AM
As a Northerner, I feel I must jump in here to add my two cents. I live about 1 hour from the center of NYC and I feel TREMENDOUS pressure to stay in shape. Everywhere I go, I see women of all different ages, jogging, going to Yoga/Pilates classes, Zumba, weight lifting, etc. Granted, I'm at an age where I don't feel the need to follow the crowd but there's definitely a certain "fitness image" that's portrayed in my neck of the woods and I'd be naive to say there wasn't. That's not to say that there's not obese people in my community because there is but I find people in my state take health and wellness very seriously. They are educated about staying fit and take the necessary steps to get there. I would agree that geographics has something to do with the obesity epidemic in this country.

EZMONEY
07-08-2011, 12:16 PM
hummmm....

Lose2Gain
07-08-2011, 01:23 PM
If you go to Europe it would be hard to find overweight people. In the US, you don't have to look far. I think it says a lot about Americans. We are lazier than most and prefer fast food over other healthier alternatives. We have such a food epidemic in our country, it's so sad!

IsabellaOlivia
07-08-2011, 01:38 PM
If you go to Europe it would be hard to find overweight people. In the US, you don't have to look far. I think it says a lot about Americans. We are lazier than most and prefer fast food over other healthier alternatives. We have such a food epidemic in our country, it's so sad!

I live in England and have previously lived in two other European countries. It is easy to find overweight people. Granted, they are not as many in numbers, and not the same massive size as in America, but in the three European countries I've habited, they've been there. Heck, I'm one of them. When Americans say 'Oh, in Europe, it's so rare to be overweight' They are mistaken.

Sunshine87
07-08-2011, 01:39 PM
IsabellaOlivia, I think you are right about the speculation of more education in New England. No offense to anyone, but I think the rates are slightly higher the further north you get and I have also heard about that increased obesity rates among persons who did not graduate high school.

JenMusic
07-08-2011, 01:49 PM
If you go to Europe it would be hard to find overweight people. In the US, you don't have to look far. I think it says a lot about Americans. We are lazier than most and prefer fast food over other healthier alternatives. We have such a food epidemic in our country, it's so sad!

Oooh, you've hit a bit of sore spot with me on that one. I absolutely do NOT think that Americans are lazier than those from other countries. In many countries, Americans are viewed as workaholics (when compared to local standards). I think Americans have a much more sedentary lifestyle than in other countries, but what's to blame for that? Yes, I agree, we could all get outside and be more active, but many, many Americans do not have jobs, lifestyles, or live in locations that promote daily, built-in activity. I'm just saying "sedentary" does not always equal "lazy."

As far as preferring fast food? Sure, fast food is yummy. But it's also cheap, ubiquitous, and advertised to heck and back. Processed food benefits from having ingredients that are heavily subsidized (corn and soy). I read it first on 3FC and it's always stayed with me: "Cheap, quick, healthy. Pick two."

I'm not saying we're not responsible for our own problems, but there are so many factors to consider. I really feel it's overly simplistic to ascribe the obesity issue in the US to laziness.

Lovely
07-08-2011, 02:34 PM
If you go to Europe it would be hard to find overweight people. In the US, you don't have to look far. I think it says a lot about Americans. We are lazier than most and prefer fast food over other healthier alternatives. We have such a food epidemic in our country, it's so sad!

I must disagree with the above. Americans are not lazy. They are simply not forced to be as physical as they used to be.

City-dwellers are notoriously in shape. Having a car is more of a hassle than simply using the well-provided public transportation. You walk to the subway or to the bus stop. You walk to work, or to the store. It's simply easier to walk a lot of places.

However, plenty of Americans don't live anywhere near their jobs. They have to drive an hour to get places... which means no "forced" walking. And then the job that they do is sedentary not lazy. There's a difference. Someone who is up at 5 each morning and gets home at 6 in the evening is not lazy. They're quite busy and probably even very productive, but they aren't forced to stand up to do their job or walk places.

Which means we have to get inventive about incorporating activities in sedentary jobs. Like standing or moving around when we can.

It is not hard to find overweight people in ANY country, but the fact that obesity is on the rise in the US is a concern. We all know that. That's why we're doing something about it.

I'm not fat, because I'm lazy. I'm fat because I was eating more calories than I was expending. Now I'm fixing that.

EZMONEY
07-08-2011, 08:25 PM
Wow there is a lot of agreeing and disagreeing here isn't there? ;)

To be honest I am pretty sure EVERYONE is right! :carrot:

So many reasons depending on income, education, opportunity, desires, family traditions, genes, weaknesses......that we gain weight.

I am 57 years old. As I look back...with faded memories ;)....of my youth I can remember "some" kids being "fat"....they really stood out....

today, when I visit my wife at the middle school she teaches at or drive by local schools of all grades as they exit I see a lot of overweight kids :(

A lot....

When I grew up we ate food cooked in crisco....but we didn't have near the portion sizes we do now...

If we were "rich" enough that week to go for burgers and fries (there were not that many fast food places around in my youth) we got a hamburger and small fries....:cheese: was an extra .05 and no way dad was gonna pay $.20 extra for us 4 kids to have :cheese:burgers....we felt very "rich" if we could order a coke (which was not refillable by the way ;)) and OMG!! if dad said we could have a milkshake we knew he had hit the motherlode on a side job :carrot:

A normal meal was a serving of meat, veggies out of a can, or later frozen veggies and usually some potato and bread....white with butter.

But I have to say the servings were smaller than the ones we dish up today...we just didn't have the $$$.

Desert was a scoop...small...of ice cream or sherbet.

Mom would get a 6 pack or 2 of sodas at the store for 4 kids to share for the week.

We were never hungry but we sure didn't drive down to Dairy Queen for desert every night...

I think what I have seen that things that were "special" treats in my day have become the normal EVERY day treats of today....

YES we had TV ;) I actually had a color one when I was 9!!

But we didn't have a bazillion channels or dvds.....when summer came there was re-runs....what kid wants that?

We ran around outside playing tag or hide and seek after dark.

At school we played at recess and lunch...then played outside when we got home or got a group of guys together and went to the park to play whatever game was in season.

As the 70's came and we had more money when we went out to dinner we didn't add that extra taco or burrito onto the order...we never super-sized anything!!!

A snack was the single size of potato chips...not the 20oz. bag with dip!! :devil:

seriously, we have always had overweight people...genes, incomes, etc....

but overall I feel our biggest problem here in the good 'ol USA is that we have made our portions much bigger on an every day...every meal...basis and I really feel that video games and TV in general has seriously cut into children's times of being able to get out and run around.....

We had boxed food when I was growing up and TV dinners....but they were not an EVERY day thing....we had them on back to school nights....

we ate at the ballpark during Little League season.....

a hot dog and a coke.....then a scoop of ice cream....then when we got home...we took off the uniform and cleats then headed outside to run and play and enjoy the summer...

and...if we got real :lucky:

we snuck a :love: kiss on the 11 yr. old neighbor girl.....;)

BerkshireGrl
07-08-2011, 10:30 PM
Some thoughts on this...


Theox, thank you for a great post :)

tdiprincess
07-08-2011, 10:56 PM
I know this is silly, but my SIL and her hubby moved to NC a few years ago. One of their points of boasting is that they can exercise outside more and that everything doesn't revolve around food like it does up north in NY. Funnily enough, their percentage is higher than NY's! HA! That made my day. I know it is silly but that's funny! LOL

anyway, this is a serious topic that should be of concern to people in the states. In the end, it is up to the individual person, most of the time. It usually comes down to what you eat and how active you are. I think though at the same time that there are so many chemicals in foods whether they are presented as "all natural" or not, I think those mess people up. There are so many people around who struggled with weight for years and then start to give up processed foods and low-and-behold, they lose weight.

In the end though, I think it would take more than just the government to change this. I think it will take a HUGE change in order to fix this issue. Something that most people aren't going to be able to do. I think this is the case because there are so many underlying causes to the obesity rate. There isn't just one simple thing to fix.

theox
07-09-2011, 04:35 AM
Theox, thank you for a great post :)

You're welcome. LOL It's sometimes difficult for me to tell when I'm making good points and when I'm just being cranky, so I was happy to read that you thought it was good.

rob1
07-09-2011, 09:25 PM
Goodness, just spent the last half hour searching for a blog post this thread reminded me of: "How You Shop When You Are Poor".

And... I don't have enough posts to add the link, but search in quotes and you'll get to it pretty quickly.

And I do agree that poverty, education and culture play a large role in the distribution of of obesity (as well as its increase). Crappy food is often cheap, quick, easy and satisfying (at least in the short term).

kurisitaru
07-09-2011, 09:50 PM
Colorado Baby!

I all ready know why we are the lowest on that list as well....

People come to Colorado to train, bike, climb, ski, board, and just be active.
We have so many trails for hiking and biking it's INSANE!
We have "share bikes" in the cities. You put in your credit card and it costs like $1 an hour or something like that... (I have my own bike so I don't use a share bike). You can park it at any of the share spots once you're done.
The roads have spots for bikes, the bus system is so easy to use if you don't bike you may as well walk to a bus and take it.
There are cheap/free buses to go to the mountains for those wanting some mountain activity.
We have bike to work weeks where people get free breakfast just for riding their bike. (I bike every where and it's surprising how many people are biking as well. You'll see men in nice business suits wearing sneakers biking home).
The parks set up free nets and lend out balls for trade of something like your car keys or an ID.

It's just an active state... we also have a lot of health food FREAKS here.

Down Town Denver had maybe 1 ice cream store... until recently. Everything is mostly fat free yogurt and the occasional gelato shop instead of ice cream.
We have a lot of vegan/vegetarian shops. Even the ice cream shops will serve vegan ice cream. (Not that vegan is healthy... we just like to accommodate people).

Most my neighbors are growing veggies in their backyards, the BBQs I attend don't really have the southern feel to them. (No fried butter for us!) We have a lot of veggie trays being tossed around (when I go out it seems). We even have fresh produce for REALLY CHEAP every weekend all over the city.

It's nice living here... I love this state for the most part.
Also, according to one of my college professors, our state currently leads in the highest percentage of adults with a bachelors degree, masters, PHD or the like...

We also make the most BEER in the nation. Coloradans love their beer and weed. Dispensaries are more popular than starbucks (which says something) and we are a very tolerant state. Christians, Jews, Muslims. All their places of worship are everywhere it seems and we have a surprisingly big gay community. (I use to live with a few gay men, It's amazing how many clubs down town are dedicated for the gay community).

Yes, I'm sort of bragging about my state. I have family out in a few others, my mother use to live in Texas and I have had long periods of time at other states... I like Tennessee too, but that has nothing to do with much other than I'm a country gal...>.>

We have problems here too... but.. for the most part... (I'm going on a limb here... so remember this is only my personal opinion not meant to offend anyone) I think Colorado is the best state to live in, for me at least. I love everything to do with it and I've tried other places, nothing is as pretty or as active, or as tolerant as this state.

EZMONEY
07-09-2011, 10:06 PM
Seems like more and more restaraunts are trying to one-up the other with bigger portions and much more of a varity of foods...

the infusion thing...

went to a Mexican restaraunt in Napa Valley a couple of weeks ago...

duck tacos....

not sayin' it's all bad but I think the food channels are going to assist us in becoming bigger yet....

not that it would be their fault!

JenMusic
07-09-2011, 10:12 PM
Here's the link rob1 referred to above:

http://elfstaranymore.tumblr.com/post/2750519373/how-you-shop-when-you-are-poor

I read it, and there is a lot to process and think about. The idea of food as entertainment I've heard mentioned before and it makes a lot of sense.